My feelings on God

Posted Oct 19, 2002
Last Updated Oct 30, 2011

As a person who does not go to church, and as a person who has a deep respect for the scientific method of thinking, I find that people easily label me as an atheist. The label is wrong. Usually I avoid talking about my personal feelings because it seems that people with different views on religion can rarely peacefully discuss the topic. Even if no one throws a fist, tempers and prejudices usually come to the surface.

Many Christians do not distinguish between atheism and agnosticism. The fact is that the two views are tremendously different, and I wish that people could get it into their heads that an agnostic does not deny the existence of God. Agnostics admit their lack of knowledge concerning God, while atheists will declare that God cannot exist.

I am a person who sees the possibility of life without the aid of divinity. It seems quite logical to me that life arises in environments that permit life. I can see that given the correct circumstances, meaning chemicals, temperatures, electricity and time, self-replicating substances can forms that take on the process of life called evolution. I doubt that the original substances of life would be considered alive in our terms, but those compositions seem plausible in our world’s past.

Given that I can see a living world without the guiding hand of a creator, many theologians might wonder why I wouldn’t take the step from agnosticism to atheism. The reason is simple—agnosticism is an approach to beliefs, not a belief in itself. I cannot say there is no God because I do not know that there is no God. For an agnostic, a belief is rooted in evidence, and where there is no evidence there is no belief.

There is a large area of mystery for me that leaves the possibility of God. While Christians will look at the order of life itself as evidence of God, I would call that poor evidence that is ignorant of logical evolution. Where the possibility of God remains, in my opinion, is the fact that the Universe itself exists.

I do not see the fact of existence to prove God at all, but it leaves open the possibility of God. It beckons the age-old conundrum: Why does the universe exist? To me, this is the mystery of all mysteries. Maybe the theologians are right when they claim the universe exists as an unbelievably grandiose plan set down by God to fulfill some majestic destiny. Whether this is true or not, I cannot say. The question is not so easily dealt with, though, since the tables can easily be turned. As my good friend Jeremy Martin once said to me when I asked him why the universe should ever exist, he said, "Why not?”

And as philosophers have noted many times in the past, explaining the existence of the universe by saying that God made it is only a cheat to the answer. The mystery behind the question is unsolved because when you answer where the universe came from by saying God made it, you then have to ask where God came from.

For me the idea of God is more intellectually puzzling than emotionally necessary. That means that my relationship to the question of God is reverse of most people on this world. It seems to me that for the vast majority of people, God is an entity standing on the scaffolds of emotions. As our nature from birth is to be wanted and loved, we cannot help, for the most part, to continue feeling our infant needs once we have become adults. It seems highly likely that people would want a God whether God does or does not exist.

The question I have, should I ever meet God, should he or she or they exist, would be, "Why have you made the universe the way it is?” Many people believe that the answer to that question has already been given to us in ancient texts. My hunch is that if God is real, the answer is more bizarre than anything inside of any book here on Earth. If God is not out there, then the question will forever remain beyond the ken of any mind that will ever exist, making our universe an inherently perplexing and mysterious fact--which is really what I suspect to be the reality of the universe in which we live.

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